May 16th, 2013
06:45 PM ET
7 years ago

Rand Paul: Hillary’s 'fingerprints' all over talking points

(CNN) – Sen. Rand Paul continued his blitz against Hillary Clinton, arguing Thursday the former secretary of state was involved in changing the Benghazi talking points, despite recently-released e-mails indicating she did not have a direct role in the matter.

The Republican senator of Kentucky–who’s considering a 2016 presidential bid–said that because her spokeswoman at the time, Victoria Nuland, was engaged in the editing process for the talking points, then Clinton must be implicated, as well.

“This is Hillary Clinton's spokesman. Unless Hillary Clinton's spokesman doesn't speak for her, this really does draw Hillary Clinton into this. And it puts her fingerprints all over these talking points,” Paul said on CNN’s “The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer.”

The White House released more than 100 pages of e-mails on Wednesday in an attempt to quiet critics of the president for his handling of last year’s deadly terror attack on a U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya.

The e-mails detail the complex exchanges between the CIA, State Department, and the White House in developing the set of unclassified talking points that were used to explain the events just days after the September 11 attack.

U.S Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice used those talking points–which erroneously stated the attacks originated from a spontaneous protest–on several television news talk shows.

Following months of questions from Republican lawmakers over how the talking points were drafted, the White House released the e-mails.

The documents showed Nuland had questioned information originally in the talking points about extremist threats linked to al Qaeda in Benghazi and eastern Libya.

"The penultimate point could be abused by members (of Congress) to beat the State Department for not paying attention to agency warnings so why do we want to feed that either? Concerned..." she wrote.

While Clinton herself was not part of the e-mail exchanges and was not found at fault in an independent investigation of the Benghazi attack, Paul reiterated that the buck stops at her desk.

“I just find it stretches credulity to think Hillary Clinton wasn't involved with the talking points,” he said.

Paul has been going after Clinton, who’s also considered a potential 2016 White House contender, for months.

During her testimony before Congress on Benghazi, Paul told Clinton he would have fired her if he were president at the time, and last week he said she should never be able to hold higher office again.

He also blasted the former secretary of state during a stop in the presidential battleground state of Iowa on Friday.

- CNN's Kevin Liptak and Sherisse Pham contributed to this report.

Watch The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer weekdays at 4pm to 6pm ET and Saturdays at 6pm ET. For the latest from The Situation Room click here.

Filed under: Hillary Clinton • Libya • Rand Paul • TV-The Situation Room
soundoff (28 Responses)
  1. granny4life

    He is just afraid that Hillary will win if she decides to run for President

    May 16, 2013 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  2. Rick McDaniel

    Obama was behind that, he just had Hillary carry it out.

    May 16, 2013 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  3. California Gary

    That's right just keep throwing stones at the giant. If and when Hillary decides to run, she will squash you like the little insect you are. I don't know if you had any promise or not in the beginning of your political career.....but what you have quickly grown into is a cheap shot artist......guys like you get nowhere.

    May 16, 2013 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  4. rs

    Give it up Mr. Paul, YOUR party's fingerprints are all over the released WH e-mails. Aside from blowing more classified CIA data, your guys took statements out of context, or outright fabricated them to create your little conspiracy.
    For such suppossed "patriots" your guys sure do like to leak sensitive data.
    Will someone go to jail FOR THAT?

    May 16, 2013 07:07 pm at 7:07 pm |
  5. Thomas

    The many faces of the Aqua Buddha
    Rand Paul's political action committee is airing TV attack ads ... The Non-profit/non-partisan group
    said Thursday in Danville, Rand PAC is spending at least $500,000 on the ads targeting U.S. Sens. Joe Manchin, Sherrod Brown, and Bill Nelson.
    Non-Profit Organization ... Please join the Louisville Tea Party in honoring Senator Rand Paul at a special “Stand with Rand” Liberty Gala.

    May 16, 2013 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  6. Tim

    Does Rand Paul know that he has become a joke approaching Sarah Palin proportions?

    May 16, 2013 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  7. Marty

    Mr. Paul, please resign.

    May 16, 2013 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  8. Liz the First

    And the GOP's fingerprints are all over the attack! let's not forget it was the republican party who reduced funding for security at out embassys. let's not forget the 3,000 who died when THEIR 'president' ignored a memo in 2001! their posturing over this is over the top. it looks like folks were trying to get their facts straight before accusing someone of terrorism. see, that's what's so troubling to the rethugs. getting one's facts straight first is a totally foreign concept to them.

    May 16, 2013 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  9. Larry L

    Strange the folks from Kentucky would want to pay the salary of a politician 100 percent dedicated to political games and scandels created to score points in the 2016 election.

    May 16, 2013 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  10. Data Driven

    OK, Rand, here's the news: 1. You'll never be President, despite your hilarious flanking maneuvers against the woman who may or may not run three years from now. 2. You need a haircut.

    I suspect Republicans are quite simply overdoing it this week. They are making a hysterical spectacle of themselves. Much of the whingeing isn't based on verifiable fact. Compounding the problem? 1. Media not holding these flamethrowers accountable for their unverifiable accusations, and 2. Zero pushback from the depressingly, routinely, WIMPY Democrats in the Swamp who are too scared to stand by the President.

    Congressional Democrats: PUSH BACK!

    May 16, 2013 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  11. Ghostwriter

    So even when the e-mails suggest that Nuland was not the only voice on this and the the CIA took the lead on it....Still Randy keeps up the line of

    May 16, 2013 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  12. Pete

    Paul is such a stooge talking like he's got backing if he runs in 2016,what a joke as funny as Santorum trying as well..Like Paul could debate anyone is beyond reason and he's a total loon when it comes to anything political at least in these times...Paul do us all one big favor and quit chastising Hillary because she's got more brains and diplomacy than all your republicans combined and that's why this Benghazi witch hunt is just about her and her political future nothing more!!Ever see a dog and pony show watch Issa and his crew its a barrel of laughs,especially to anyone with intelligence which leaves most republicans out doesn't it!!

    May 16, 2013 08:29 pm at 8:29 pm |
  13. B.

    Is there nothing of substance for fools like Paul to do other than spend time trying to take down Obama?


    May 16, 2013 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
  14. JDL

    Rand how are you going to increase security when all you do is run around and scream to cut spending !
    If the GOP/T party spent half as much time working on jobs as they do stirring crap we would have a lot more revenues and a prospering economy .

    May 16, 2013 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
  15. MaryM

    Rand Paul, just shut up. You are sounding just like Paul Ryan. And we all remember Lyin Ryan

    May 16, 2013 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |
  16. Concerned citizen

    Well, go run for Presidency, and see what Hillary will do to you! Please, run!

    May 16, 2013 09:09 pm at 9:09 pm |
  17. Deb in MT

    Wow! That (Ayn) Rand Paul doofus really doesn't understand the 'reality based' world at all, does he?

    Having read the original e-mails, I can only conclude that the GOP blatantly falsified the versions they released to ABC News in order to implicate Hillary Clinton, since the original e-mails do nothing of the sort. Or, shorter version: the GOP lied. Business as usual for them.

    May 16, 2013 10:15 pm at 10:15 pm |
  18. S.B. Stein

    I find his rationale faulty with this and many other things. He seems to think tha there is consipracy about this.

    May 16, 2013 10:45 pm at 10:45 pm |
  19. picnick

    Rand Paul is going to tip over Hillary in 2016.

    May 16, 2013 10:58 pm at 10:58 pm |
  20. ThinkAgain

    Rand Paul, like all the GOP, is taking aim at Sec. Clinton because they know she would be their main contender should she run for President In 2016.

    Typical of the GOP to try to smear their opponents; Lord know they've got nothing to offer our country except failed policies, anger, fear, hatred and division. Oh, and an unending belief in the trickle-down fairy.

    What I honestly don't get is how their base can continue being suckered by the GOP, continue to be played for the fools that they are. After awhile, you'd think GOP voters would be sick of being used.

    May 16, 2013 11:15 pm at 11:15 pm |
  21. a65442

    This guy won't be able to defeat Hillary Clinton no matter how hard he tries. The more he opens his mouth, the more ridiculous he sounds.

    May 17, 2013 12:38 am at 12:38 am |
  22. Bill from GA

    I am amazed that Rand Paul, as well as some of Georgia's Representatives, can get a medical degree, and yet, still seem so stupid.

    May 17, 2013 01:40 am at 1:40 am |
  23. Iamnotfooled

    Ok -let me use the NEW GOP "Parrot Word ", " Transparent" Mr. Rand Paul you are so transparent when it comes to your motive for going after Hillary Clinton. And it is hilarious - because she has not committed herself yet. You are acting like a scared little boy and making a fool of yourself. By the way if she does run you don't stand a chance.

    May 17, 2013 03:38 am at 3:38 am |
  24. ladeeda

    Yes – lets listen to what Don Quixote has to say.

    May 17, 2013 03:54 am at 3:54 am |
  25. jkane sfl the gop national disgrace party will be swept out like the trash they are in2014 ?

    Shut up ,gop moron bland Paul will probably be kick out of office in the next election .

    May 17, 2013 03:58 am at 3:58 am |
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